Sunday, December 21, 2014

Pan Am Locomotive Catches Fire in Monmouth ME

(SOURCE:  Locomotive catches fire in Monmouth - The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram)

Monmouth firefighters extinguished a locomotive fire Saturday morning that left the train engine inoperable.

The Pan Am Railways train, which also had two other engines pulling 80 cars, was headed south when the crew noticed the train was losing power, Monmouth Fire Chief Dan Roy said.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Berkshire Scenic Looks Forward to Resumption of Train Service in 2015

(SOURCE: Newswire)

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. – Passenger cars and a locomotive have arrived at the site of Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum's planned "Hoosac Valley Service" at North Adams, Mass., and the organization hopes that trains will begin to run over the former New York Central branch next spring.

The Berkshire Scenic, based in Lenox, had carried more than one million riders over a nine-year period on trains running over nine miles of Housatonic Railroad. The host railroad chose to not renew the operating agreement three years ago, and since then the all-volunteer Berkshire Scenic has worked closely with state officials and leaders in North Adams and Adams to begin running trains between those two communities, located about 30 miles north of Lenox. The trains will use tracks currently owned by Pan Am Southern, which were once part of a NYC line that connected Pittsfield with North Adams.

Berkshire Scenic Vice President Jay Green tells Trains News Wire that plans call for the railroad’s excursion trains to have access to the line from Friday evening through the weekend, and on Federal holidays. Pan Am Southern will continue to serve two freight customers on the tracks at other times. Negotiations are underway for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to purchase the rail line from Pan Am Southern, he says.

Green says that Berkshire Scenic will offer frequent downtown-to-downtown service, allowing riders originating at either end of the line to shop or have lunch during their layover at the other end.

In the past two weeks, Berkshire Scenic Railway's former New York Central SW8 No. 8619; a former Baltimore & Ohio combine; and a former New York, New Haven & Hartford caboose moved from the headquarters at Lenox to North Adams. The move used a circuitous routing including the Housatonic Railroad, CSX Transportation, and Pan Am Southern. Pan Am later delivered a former Boston & Maine Budd RDC-1 and a onetime Pennsylvania Railroad baggage car that had come from Maine and Boston, respectively. Two refurbished former Delaware, Lackawanna & Western coaches owned by the state are to be trucked or moved by rail flatcar to the site, according to Green.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation's engineering contractor is working on a refurbishing plan for the current four miles of track, and is developing a joint use design with an existing bikeway in order to re-install an additional mile of track at the south of end of the route. Most funding has come through the state, and all track improvements will also benefit freight, Green says. The town of Adams has purchased a former carwash adjacent to the end of the tracks that are to be restored. It will be used as a station, featuring local historical rail-themed exhibits. The city of North Adams has plans to install a pedestrian tunnel under Pan Am's freight main to connect the local boarding area with the North Adams Heritage Park.

The caboose has been repainted in NYC Century Green, and is lettered "Hoosac Valley.” It will serve as a crew office at North Adams. The combine, which previously served as Berkshire Scenic’s Gilded Age exhibit car at Lenox, has undergone a complete exterior renovation to become Hoosac Valley No. 1444, named North Adams. It will serve as a welcome center, housing a ticket office, gift shop, tourist information, waiting room, and an educational theater. The exterior and some interior work was funded by a $200,000 Developing Western Massachusetts Tourism & Cultural Facilities grant. The electronics for the theatre and a new point-of-sale system for tickets and merchandise were funded by a $25,000 Pittsfield Economic Revitalization Corp. Technology Grant, Green says.

Berkshire Scenic's restored New Haven Railroad station at Lenox, as well as the yard and display tracks that have been constructed over the years, will remain the organization's headquarters. Depending upon volunteer availability, the museum hopes to continue to offer weekend jitney rides and yard tours at Lenox. The museum's other property, the former New Haven station at Stockbridge, is leased to the Stockbridge Public Library.

Fun and educational train rides will return to the Berkshires! In cooperation with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, City of North Adams and Town of Adams, Berkshire Scenic will be offering train rides once again! 
Located in the beautiful footprint of Mount Greylock, BSRM's Hoosac Valley Service will offer weekend downtown-to-downtown service with convenient train schedules for visiting both historic communities by train and special events for the whole family! 
This complex project is constantly developing! For information on when operations will begin follow the latest developments on the Hoosac Valley Service's own FACEBOOK page. Be sure to visit BSRM's Hoosac Valley Service website for more information about this exciting project. 

WW&F Fires Up Historic 2-Footer #9 For the First Time Since 1933

(SOURCE:  WW&F website 11/25/14)

After 5+ years of restoration work, Locomotive #9 reached a critical milestone today – a steam test of the boiler and appliances.  While the locomotive is no where near ready – as you can see from the pictures, it’s missing the cab, the tank, and a bunch of other little things – the test was necessary to check for steam leaks.  The boiler had undergone several hydro pressure tests in preceding weeks, which helped to eliminate other leaks.

Massachusetts Awards Contracts for South Coast Rail Bridge Replacements

(SOURCE: Newswire)

BOSTON – The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has awarded a contract for the replacement of four bridges in New Bedford and Fall River along the future South Coast commuter rail line. The four bridges to be replaced include the President Avenue, Brownell Avenue, and Golf Club Road Bridges in Fall River, and the three-span Wamsutta Bridge in New Bedford.

In addition, a separate Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority contract will upgrade five grade crossings located on Dean Street in Taunton; Copicut Road, Elm and High Streets in Freetown; and Nash Road in New Bedford.

All early-action projects will be completed over the next two years while ongoing preliminary engineering design work continues on the overall South Coast Rail project.

The South Coast Rail project will restore passenger service from Boston’s South Station to the South Coast of Massachusetts. The cities of Taunton, Fall River, and New Bedford are the only cities within 50 miles of Boston that are not served by commuter rail.

As part of the early action projects associated with the South Coast Rail Project, the $42 million project will replace the three Fall River bridges and the Wamsutta Bridge in New Bedford. The contract for the bridge replacement work was awarded to Cardi Corp.

In June, the MassDOT board of directors approved a contract award of $210 million over 10 years to the joint venture of Vanasse Hangen Brustlin Corp. The contract officially moved the South Coast Rail project from planning to construction. The board granted $12 million in first year funding to begin program management, early design development and environmental permitting, with additional awards in succeeding years up to the contract limit of $210 million. The bridge replacement project is in addition to the 10-year South Coast Rail contract.

The state purchased the New Bedford-Fall River line from CSX in 2009.